Spirit "well positioned" for future growthBy Edward Devlin, Senior Digital Staff Writer
Burton pubco Spirit has pushed revenue up by more than £40m to past £800m sending earnings and profits higher than a year ago.
Chief executive Mike Tye said it had been a strong year for the group leaving it in a good position for further growth, with £75m in cash to fuel an expansion of its estate.
Spirit is currently finalising details with rival operator Greene King for a £720m takeover deal. The company's board signalled earlier this week that it would be willing to recommend Greene King's improved offer to its shareholders.
In the year ended 23 August 2014, Spirit registered growth in both its managed and leased divisions. In managed, like-for-like sales were up 4.4 per cent continuing to outperform the market, with the leased arm recording four consecutive quarters of like-for-like net income growth.
The group's estate is made up of almost 800 pubs, including the Chef & Brewer and Fayre & Square brands.
Total sales of £800.9m for the period helped EBITDA climb from £149.5m in 2013 to £159.4m, before £17m of exceptional items pushed the figure back to £142.4m – slightly below the previous year.
Pre-tax profits soared to £110.2m, compared with £68.7m, thanks to almost £50m in one-off gains, mostly made up of a revaluation of properties along with an £18.7m profit on the sale of pubs.
Chief executive Mike Tye said: "It's been a strong year for Spirit, driven by effective execution of our clear and consistent strategy. Our managed division continues to outperform the market with its strong portfolio of brands, while our leased division is delivering market-leading performance and is in growth.
"We ended the year with a healthy balance sheet and strong earnings and dividend growth, underpinned by good cash generation."
He added the business was well positioned for further progressive growth, organically from the existing portfolio and through acquisitions.
"We see significant opportunity to roll out our successful brands and currently have £75m to fund expansion," he said.
"While the consumer environment remains volatile, we are confident that our customer proposition and sustained focus on delivering hospitality excellence for our guests will provide the necessary firepower to grow market share and continue to deliver value for all our stakeholders."
The group did not mention the proposed Greene King takeover in the preliminary results statement.